Why I Dyed My Hair a Different Colour Every Time I Fell in Love
And why I never will again
Hair, something that seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things and yet holds greater power and significance than many of us realise. When you stop to think about it, it's clear as day. For many it has religious significance. Whether it's never cutting it (the Sikh religion) or covering it to show modesty and closeness to God (Islam, Orthodox Judaism and Christianity). In practises that use magic, having more hair is believed to increase your energy and the power of your manifestations.
Long hair, typically and historically in a woman, is seen as attractive because it indicates youth, health, beauty and fertility. Whilst short hair indicates rebellion. Colouring hair has been an experimental pursuit of human societies worldwide. Unnatural colours are now increasingly accepted and colouring the hair at all can change the entire impression that an individual gives. Something I soon came to realise.
The power hair colour and style has to change perceptions and our belief that it does, that's what I'd really like to zero in on. As you grow up, you change, you're not the same person you were, you want the external landscape to catch up with the internal. Or you want to make some changes, a fresh start as a fresh person. You want a change in yourself to be either anticipated or realised.
At puberty I chopped off my long, brown hair from near my waist to my chin. Red lowlights came next as I was soon to leave school and at University, coming out of Fresher's first year with many a mistake having been made, I got highlights and went blonde. Well a dirty, 'natural' blonde at least. I was trying to showcase a 'new me' to my peers, hoping to grow in confidence. Normal turning points for experimentation and part of growing up.
But it became something far more sinister for me when I entered the world of dating and started going into my first serious relationships. It stopped being a reflection of inner change or a fresh start. It became the embodiment of my lack of self worth and my desperation to hold on to certain men in my life by trying to be their version of beautiful instead of my own.
The tendency I'd have to view hair as the automatic 'fix' to my appearance came from having a mother who was a salon owner. I grew up seeing the kaleidoscope of styles and colours that existed as well as having access to them. The stylists were true chameleons. They changed their hair colour and style out of boredom and for artistic expression. They were fluid. I couldn't be like them, my mother couldn't let me destroy my hair through automatically giving in to my ideas.
I'd always wanted blonde hair actually, like my mother, who was markedly more beautiful than myself. No doubt that was an early stem to my insecurity. But she wouldn't let me go full peroxide (for the best) and there we circle round to University. The dark blonde innocently meeting someone who would turn out to be her first long-term boyfriend.
He was an anime-loving, gamer boy who liked brown hair and big tits, the exact features of the girl he'd fallen for before me. I was now dark blonde with average to small frontal assets. I didn't feel I fit the bill of what he wanted. I wasn't quite enough. Whilst we had various other and unrelated issues in our relationship, as my insecurity increased, my wishing to please him did too. My mother was also anxious for me to have dark hair again because of the damage the constant highlights were inflicting. The people pleasing train was filled to the brim. I struggled with the decision, holding the weight of pressure I didn't realise then I gave weight to by validating.
"If I'm brunette will he like me more? Will he find me more attractive? It would make everyone happier anyway right?"
I caved. I allowed my hair to be dyed a dark brown with a slight purplish tint. I didn't feel like myself anymore.
Eventually, that relationship ended. I knew it was the wrong time to date again. But knowing something was wrong doesn't always prevent you from doing it. Especially when technology was increasingly making it so easy. I had resisted the very idea of dating apps, but with boredom and sadness came temptation. Tinder, a world were you were judged by appearance first and substance later. I began a new relationship with an older man who liked to dominate me in the bedroom whilst expecting me to be a perfect 'independent woman' outside of it. The dynamic didn't quite work. A strange, twisted relationship where we went from not boyfriend and girlfriend but exclusive. To over, to me holding on to some connection by asking if we could still maintain our physical relationship. Unsurprisingly, this didn't work either. Things began to dissolve between us as I also realised just how much of what he'd told me was a fabrication or an empty promise.
I had lost my connection with him, else it was fading fast, on life support. I feared the rejection. I knew he idealised certain 'types' of girls with distinctive looks. The kind who might fetishize the idea of an 'alternative or goth girl' or a marvel comic book character. So when I told him I'd been toying with the idea of bright red or purple hair, he jumped on it with excitement. He wanted a comic book character, a cartoon, a fantasy. I'd give it to him. So that maybe I could feel in control again. Desired and wanted. Which I realised, was at the heart of the issue. So I went bright red.
I felt powerful. The colour was bolder than any I'd had before. I loved it. Maybe I started to gain a bit of love for myself. With that power though, I knew it was time to move on. I was focused on my career as a Mixed Martial Arts Cage fighter at the time, but that's another story. And emerging from my first, grand fighting victory as a slightly faded redhead (for colours that are bright do fade over time), I met someone else.
A scholar, as he supposed himself, and a former teacher. My first official boyfriend in about 3 years or so. I was excited and excitable. I felt elevated in his eyes. Not realising he in fact had a taste for youth and feelings of superiority. As my red hair was fading I asked him if I should go and get it redone. Once again, I was anxious to please and keep hold of this new found love. I assured him I wouldn't be offended if he didn't like the bright red, I was considering going back dark anyway. He assured me in return, that he loved my hair the way it was. A month later as this perfect statue of passion and new love began to crack and collapse, he admitted that he'd lied to my face. He didn't like the red at all, he'd prefer a natural, dark colour.
I did it again. I changed my hair colour....completely......once again.....for a man.....Back to dark brunette. A move that won me nothing from him and left me a crumbled heap of tears and pain when he ended it. Pretty hair or no.
Moving on, I wasn't ready for a relationship. It definitely was not what I wanted. So of course I ended up in an inbetween thing with the man from Barcelona, himself mending a broken heart. He'd been taken advantage of by a married woman who didn't know what she wanted. I showered him with affection and attention. Even when we realised that he would go home eventually so it couldn't get any more serious, we would remain in an "open" relationship. Two jealous people who didn't have the most open of communication. Great idea right? He put me in a box because of the my Martial Arts background, wanted someone who could dominate and had a very specific image of what he wanted. This girl was stylish, thin and blonde. Stereotypically fantastical.
Problem was, I wasn't the girl in his head. I could never be the fantasy of a man who craved fantasies. But still, I did it, I convinced my mum to let me go blonde again. I chopped the hair off to my chin, I wanted it blonde blonde. And in the end, I finally got what I wanted.
The man from Barcelona loved the blonde. I loved feeling like his fantasy. But he did return from whence he came and the relationship crumbled as we always knew it would. This was it. The last time. I loved my new look. Loved my vibrant blonde hair. I felt refreshed and renewed.
When the next man came into my life he was a completely manipulative narcissist, and the relationship was emotionally abusive. He also fetished the Martial Artist in me, wanted some warrior queen he could "conquer". He'd seen me months ago with my dark hair and adored it. That's when he'd first noticed me. If he didn't hate the blonde hair, he certainly didn't like it at all. It didn't fit his idea of what he wanted me to be and represent. He was like a creeping vine of influence that began to suffocate. However, no matter how much he grew to control my actions, the way I dressed, spoke, behaved. No matter how he criticised me and used insecurity as a mode of control, I would never change my hair for him.
That was the one part of me that did not crumble, and now, it is the piece of body art that is a sign of my strength. Reminds me of it. I will never change my hair for a man again. It took me a long time, but I finally realised my worth. I deserved to be loved and admired, just as I was. No changes necessary. And so do you. If you can take anything away from my story, it's that changing how you look to grab someone's attention, will never save a relationship. It should serve no purpose, other than being something you want to do. Something that simply enhances or expresses the stunning person you are in the way that YOU want. If you change the colour of your hair, never do it for anyone else.
I hope you enjoyed my story. Feel free to send any suggestions or requests to my email : [email protected] Share with anyone you think might like it. And last but not least, have a wonderful day. You deserve it.